How to Build a Gate

New Athenaeum Theatre, 24 The Octagon, Dunedin

22/06/2024 - 22/06/2024

Production Details


Written by Electra Carzis
Directed By Sydney Dennison
Edited by Zora Squish Pruitt

Kate Low and Electra Artemis Productions


A new sci-fi thriller by Electra Carzis follows computer engineer Liza Davis as she goes through the most enticing opportunity any of us can imagine: working from home.

But when her neighbour grabs her DoorDash instead of his, Liza embarks on the warpath we’ve all walked in the name of a breakfast sandwich. Little did she know he was ready to head her off at the pass, with the greatest gift a man could offer: an apology … and a phone number.

While Liza is distracted by the scandalous sexting from the hot guy across the hall, her work falls from the front of her mind. That is, until her boss reminds her exactly how invested he is in her project and she’s forced to face the reality in front of her: that she’s been too disengaged for too long, and she’ll be reaping the consequences before the day is out.

Let’s hope she has time to rekindle her love connection before the curtain falls.

And pray she realizes just who she’s been kindling with…

This New York-based playwright is bringing a hooker with a heart-of-gold attitude to nuanced storytelling. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have to google slang you never needed to know.

Date: Saturday 22nd June 2024, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: New Athenaeum Theatre, Dunedin
Run Time: 60 Minutes
Rating: R16
Tickets: $20 available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/893368357807
Limited Cash door sales pending availability


Starring Kate Low
Tech: Benjamin Donaldson


Verbatim , Theatre , Solo ,


60mins

A story for our time

Review by Hannah Molloy 23rd Jun 2024

Kate Low is a great watch in How to Build a Gate, written by Electra Carzis, directed by Sydney Dennison and edited by Zora Squish Pruitt. Low takes hold of the script, and her personality overflows from the small New Athenaeum Theatre stage. She whisks around the stage, by turns thoughtful, excited, turned on, enraged, and remorseful. She uses big gestures and small quirks of her eyebrows. The audience laughs quietly but often.

The story is very of our time – a scientist (Liza) holed up in a tiny, cluttered apartment, creating, without much thought for consequences beyond financial return and fame, an artificial intelligence more powerful than anything anyone has dreamed of. Liza is distracted by her ‘hot neighbour’ and we whirl from her dreams of a Nobel prize to sexting the guy who took her food delivery by mistake to a crisis of conscience as she realises what she has actually created.

We the audience realise quite quickly that Liza is actually having an intense conversation with the AI she has created rather than the hot neighbour, enabling it to learn rapidly and approach sentience and autonomy. It feels like the room gets ready to sympathise with her as she navigates the potential consequences of her creation for humankind – and for humanity. (These words often seem to be used interchangeably these days but I wonder if there is a deeper subtlety in the use of ‘humanity’ in this script.)

Although a very current narrative and deeply concerning social issue, especially in the contexts of artistic intellectual property rights and the proliferation of mis and disinformation, somehow it feels like we don’t go quite deep enough into the weave any of the threads – but maybe the instant sexting and problematic employer aren’t meant to be more than devices to move us to where the plot needs us to be rather than commentary on other social issues. We cover a lot of ground in an hour and Low maintains a rapid pace without breaking a sweat. 

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